Category: Adam & the Ants

Adam & the Ants – Kings of the Wild Frontier

ARTIST: Adam & the Ants            220px-Adam&theAntsKingsoftheWildFrontier

TITLE: Kings of the Wild Frontier

YEAR RELEASED: 1980

CHART ACTION: #44 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Kings of the Wild Frontier (#19 Dance, #2 UK), Dog Eat Dog (#19 Dance, #15 Mainstream, #4 UK), Antmusic (#19 Dance, #14 Mainstream, #2 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Physical (You’re So) (US Version)

LINEUP: Adam Ant, Marco Pirroni, Kevin Mooney, Chris Hughes (Merrick), Terry Lee Miall

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A swaggering, brazen, spirited record where things come together for Adam Ant and his Ants like lightning in a bottle.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Malcolm McLaren stole the Ants and the “Burundi Beat” for Bow Wow Wow, but Adam Ant joined up with Marco Pirroni, found other Ants (including two drummers), and released an outstanding group of tracks expounding on his “Antmusic” philosophy (whatever that was).

There are swipes at the press, braggadocio about the band, tributes to Native Americans, pirates, and spaghetti westerns, and a couple tracks that could be themes to horror movies (especially “Ants Invasion”).

Any one within earshot of this album in the early 80’s was drawn to it. When MTV came on board, Adam Ant was one of the early stars because of his visual sense and themes as much as his music. It’s a unique album by a unique band for a unique time.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Released in 1980, this was the best selling album in the UK in 1981.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. In the US, the vinyl dropped a cut and added two B-sides (including the sublime “Physical (You’re So)”. The cassette and CD originally had the great B-side “Beat My Guest” and the next single “Stand and Deliver”. The deluxe CD drops those two, adds another B-side, an outtake, and a live show and restores the missing UK track. Whew.

 GRADE: A+: The early 80’s wouldn’t be the same without this record.

Adam & the Ants – Dirk Wears White Sox

ARTIST: Adam & the Ants              220px-DirkWearsWhiteSoxOriginalCover

TITLE:  Dirk Wears White Sox

YEAR RELEASED: 1979

CHART ACTION: #16 UK

SINGLES: None from the original album or recordings. Later additions Zerox (#45 UK), Cartrouble (edited) (#33 UK), and the B-side EP (#46 UK) hit the UK charts.

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not in the original form

LINEUP: Adam Ant, Dave Barbarossa, Matthew Ashman, Andrew Warren

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Early Ants lineup is raw and shambly and make for an inconsistent album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Before Adam Ant found his sound (and before the original Ants went with Malcolm McLaren to form Bow Wow Wow), the Ants released their debut record to some airplay and sales, yet it seemed an odd document.

The Ants (and Adam) were influenced by the sex boutiques in London at the time for their look and some of their lyrics (see the B-side “Whip in My Valise”), and this gave them a lot of press (good and bad). Yet the record seems a bit scattered with some inspired bits, and some bits that just didn’t work. Many times, those bits were in the 220px-AdamandtheAntsDirkWearsWhiteSoxsame song.

It’s kind of shocking to hear Adam Ant with a less than coherent music vision (even if you didn’t like the vision, at least he had one later on). The vision would come together soon, with some excellent singles following this album. This is decent for those who like the immediate post-punk era, and for those who want to hear the nascent Adam Ant mewl about stuff and things.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The first Adam and the Ants recordings were for the movie Jubilee and are rare and collectable now. Not to say that they’re good…

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. The 1983 re-issue (for the US market) swapped the singles for a couple of songs, and truncated “Cartrouble” to the second, better half. The current issue has everything and a couple of new mixes. 

GRADE: B-: You can her something, but Adam hadn’t quite settled into his successful sound yet.